So, the day after the WWE SmackDown Live pay-per-view event, Fastlane, I am convinced now, more than ever, that certain WWE Superstars are more deserving in their careers than what they have achieved within the WWE to date; especially since three of those that I will talk in this post were featured on Fastlane last night. But I know that every profession wrestling fan out there knows exactly what I mean by that statement there. Without a doubt, there are men and women on the WWE roster who manage to entertain and put on a show like no others in the company.
They go out to that ring, night after night, and are consistently the best part of the card but for some reason or another never quite have gotten the recognition that they truly deserve. They go out there and they make any opponent they are squared up against look good, sometimes even better than they deserve to look. But for some reason or another, whether it be politics back stage, creative not knowing what to do with them, or something as simple as Vince McMahon & company not having an ounce of faith in them, the following wrestlers on this list have been held down in the company, never to achieve the brass ring of holding a major WWE Championship or, in the case of some here, having short runs with a belt as a sort of place holder for others that the WWE feel more comfortable promoting as champions.
The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Real Names: Ryan Parmeter (Konnor), Eric Thompson (Viktor)
DOBs: Feb. 6, 1980 (Konnor), Dec. 4, 1980 (Viktor)
Height: 6’4 (Konnor), 6’2 (Viktor)
Weight: 268 lbs (Konnor), 219 lbs (Viktor)
The team known as The Ascension were one of the best tag teams to ever come out of NXT. After the initial incarnation of The Ascension was split, Konnor & Viktor remained the sole members of the team and went on to win and hold the NXT Tag Team Championships for a record 364-days. But almost as soon as the team hit the main roster it seemed as though the writing team behind the scenes had no idea how to book the duo leading to them languishing in the lower mid-card of the roster. Given how popular the team was in NXT and the talent they showcased then I would have thought they would have won a major tag team championship on the main roster by now, but they are merely an afterthought for creative and, unfortunately, the WWE Universe.
Real Name: Rebecca Quinn
DOB: Jan. 30, 1987
Weight: 135 lbs
As part of WWE’s Four Horsewomen clique that came out of NXT (including Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks), and despite being the first SmackDown Live Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch has since languished about; never quite achieving the same level of success that she initially captured upon joining the main roster. Though she has never left the main event scene for the belt, she is on the outskirts of challenging for the belt, never seeming as though she will challenge for it – or at least not anytime soon. At least Bayley over on RAW is involved in some pretty significant feuds. But Becky is just kind of there as women like Charlotte, Ruby Riott, Carmela, Natalya, and Naomi dominate the SmackDown title scene. Rumor has it that WWE television producer Kevin Dunn isn’t a big fan of Becky, so that may be a huge reason why she is not routinely in the hunt for the Women’s Championship.
Real Names: Claudio Castagnoli
DOB: Dec. 27, 1980
Weight: 232 lbs
I have no idea why someone who looks and wrestles the way Cesaro does is left to just challenge or hold the RAW Tag Team Championships as part of The Bar along with Sheamus. He has been a hit with the WWE Universe for a long time, has shown he has the strength and charisma to be popular with the fans, and has an amazing set of moves that showcase his size and strength and don’t bog him down like it does other men of his size. Yet, because backstage word is that Vince McMahon doesn’t think he is WWE Champion material, he has been kept out of the WWE Championship hunt for many years now. I know that the WWE is Vinny Mac’s company, but at the same time, why not listen to the fans and give them what they want every once in a while. Heaven knows that he is a much better performer, and a much more deserving one, than Roman Reigns.
Real Name: Joseph Curtis Hennig
DOB: Oct. 1, 1979
Weight: 228 lbs
WWE Debut: Jun. 8, 2010
The son of the legendary “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig deserves much more than what he has been given in the WWE. Time and time again, he has been regulated to the mid-card of the roster with nary a chance to shine and show what he can do in the ring. Even as part of The Miztourage he is still used as a henchman rather than a legitimate individual threat for any kind of belt, even the tag team titles alongside his Miztourage cohort Bo Dallas. It seems, that aside from being a henchman (or rather a stooge for The Miz), the WWE creative team has no idea what to do with him. And that is a big shame considering that he has shown that he can be a legitimate threat inside the ring, more than capable of holding his own with the best that the WWE has – at least, he could be if they would ever give him the chance to showcase his in-ring talents.
Real Name: Nicholas Theodore Nemeth
DOB: Jul. 27, 1980
Weight: 218 lbs
Oh man, what can I say about Dolph Ziggler that many more qualified than I haven’t already said about him and the lack of a significant push he has received in the WWE. The rumors say that he is always held back because he makes losing look so good, that Dolph is kept on the mid-card to lower upper-card because he has a tendency to make anyone he is in the ring with look that much better. And that is kind of hard to argue with; but imagine if they would make him champion and give him a heelish personality that would allow him to still make others look good while exploiting ways to remain champion. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Imagine what he could do as a heel champion. All that talent, all that athleticism… simply going to waste to make others look good. At least no one can say that he isn’t a company man to go along with that stance for so many years.
The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
Real Names: Chad Allegra (Anderson), Andrew William Hankinson (Gallows)
DOBs: Jan. 20, 1980 (Anderson), Dec. 22, 1983 (Gallows)
Height: 6’ (Anderson), 6’8 (Gallows)
Weight: 215 lbs (Anderson), 290 lbs (Gallows)
When I heard that Bullet Club members Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows were coming over to the WWE from New Japan Pro Wrestling alongside AJ Styles, I thought that they would eventually get a huge push as WWE Tag Team Champions and hold the belts as they had proven over in NJPW that they were legitimate badasses who could easily handle the tag teams in the WWE. But this is the WWE after all and they don’t take to kindly to individuals or teams successful in other promotions coming over and running over their created Superstars. Instead, Gallows & Anderson were given a run with the tag team championships but then left behind in the card in favor of other teams in the WWE. They have yet to receive any significant tag team push in the company despite being one of the best they have on the roster.
Real Name: Kenta Kobayashi
DOB: Mar. 12, 1981
Weight: 182 lbs
Hideo Itami was once positioned to have a prominent role within the WWE, starting off with a major run in NXT. However, due to some ill-timed injuries, he has since lingered nearer the mid-card that the upper-card where many fans and people behind the scenes in the WWE would have preferred him to be. Sometimes that is just the luck of the draw, but it certainly sucks to see such talent wasted. He has since been promoted to the 205 Live program on the WWE Network, performing as one of the Cruiserweights on the show, but many fans know he is capable of so much more. Itami showed that over in the Japanese promotion, Pro Wrestling Noah, he was more than capable of contending with the best that the promotion had to offer, and many were sure he could showcase that in the WWE. Hopefully, he can move past being on 205 Live now that Triple H is in charge of the program and live up to the expectations many had for him in the WWE.
Real Name: Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah
DOB: Aug. 14, 1981
Weight: 212 lbs
While it’s hard to say that Kofi Kingston is underutilized in the WWE as he is part of what could be considered the hottest stable the promotion has had since the Attitude Era, the New Day, the fact that his singles career has never really taken off is a bit of a shame. But when he is as successful as he is a part of the New Day it is hard to try and convince many that he deserves a significant push as a single star is quite hard to do. If he ever was made to hold the WWE Championship, and push fellow New Day members Xavier Woods & Big E as tag champions, it could be a fun and exciting face stable running the cards in the promotion. Kofi’s natural athletic ability makes him a prime candidate to be champion, but his smaller size and popularity as part of the New Day make it highly unlikely he will ever get anymore within the WWE than he already has.
Real Name: Ronald William Arneill
DOB: Feb. 19, 1981
Weight: 223 lbs
Not a lot of people know how long Tye Dillinger has actually been with the WWE, but he was signed to a developmental deal way back in 2006, first appearing in the developmental promotions Ohio Valley Wrestling, then Florida Championship Wrestling before it finally changed over to NXT where he wrestled as Shawn Spears, Gavin Spears, and finally as Tye Dillinger. And though he has shown on numerous occasions that he is a capable performer and can entertain the fans, he has never been given a fair due in the WWE. He has been continued to be used as glorified enhancement talent within the company, even after joining the main roster in 2017. Usually this kind of longevity with the company is rewarded in some ways, but aside from a couple of tag team championship runs in developmental, and as OVW Television Champion, he has since seen very little gold around his waist – and this is something that seriously needs to change given his considerable in-ring talent.
Real Name: Matthew Brett Cardona
DOB: May 14, 1985
Zack Ryder; the man who managed to get himself over on YouTube against the designs of the WWE creative team. He was never meant to be as popular as he is, but he has managed to amass a legion of fans because of who he is and how he entertains the fans. Yet, despite Ryder doing a large part of creative’s job for them, they never seem to do anything with him. He’s had a run as the US Champion and a shorter run as the Intercontinental Champion, but he is never in a position where he can seriously challenge for the main titles within the WWE. And it is a damn shame too considering how much the fans want to see him there. He is a fun personality, a very capable wrestler, and a relatable man that the fans attach themselves to. But he is never given his proper respects by the company and I can never figure out exactly why. Whereas Ziggler has at least been WWE Champion a couple of (short) times, Ryder has never seen that kind of gold – and that is simply a crime that cannot be forgiven.